Validation and application of an urban turbulence parameterisation scheme for mesoscale atmospheric models

Growing population, extensive use (and abuse) of the natural resources, increasing pollutants emissions in the atmosphere: these are a few obstacles (and not the least) one has to face with nowadays to ensure the sustainability of our planet in general, and of the air quality in particular. In the case of air pollution, the processes that govern the transport and the chemical transformation of pollutants are highly complex and non-linear. The use of numerical models for simulating meteorological fields, which in turn will determine the transport of pollutants in the atmosphere, is thus a very appropriate tool to describe and understand the air pollution problematic. This work focuses on the meteorological simulation, using a mesoscale model. The stress is particularly put on the parameterisation of urban induced effects on the meteorological fields above a city. A detailed urban parameterisation scheme has been implemented in a mesoscale model in a previous work. This new scheme takes into account the presence of a city in a more accurate way as the traditional method usually used in mesoscale models. In the first part of this work, the urban module was validated for a one-dimensional off-line simulation within and above a street canyon in the city of Basel/Switzerland. The simulation results were compared with measurements taken within and above the same street canyon during an intensive observation period in the frame of the BUBBLE project (Basel UrBan Boundary Layer Experiment). The comparison with the measurements and with a simulation using the traditional urban parameterisation showed that the detailed urban scheme improved the quality of the simulation of turbulent fluxes and meteorological parameters (wind, temperature) in the urban canopy. Further on, the mesoscale was applied for a three-dimensional simulation over the city of Basel and its surroundings. The results showed that the model is able to reproduce the wind pattern that prevailed during the simulated episode, and that the accuracy of the temperature simulation in the city is improved with the urban module. In the third part of this work, an air quality study was performed over the Mexico City basin. The mesoscale model simulated the meteorological conditions for the chosen episode (1 and 2 March 1997). The results were then passed to TAPOM, a Eulerian photochemical model that calculates the space and time distribution of air pollutants. The simulated concentrations over the basin showed good agreement with the observed values. The validated model could then be used to test some emissions reduction scenarios for Mexico City. The use of the detailed urban parameterisation scheme for meteorological fields and air pollutants concentration simulation improved the quality of the results in almost all the applied situations. Consequently, the full modelling tool presented and validated in this work can be used for air quality modelling studies over cities and their surroundings.

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 3032 (2004)
    Section des sciences et ingénierie de l'environnement
    Faculté de l'environnement naturel, architectural et construit
    Institut des sciences et technologies de l'environnement
    Laboratoire de pollution atmosphérique et du sol
    Jury: Hew Davies, Alberto Martilli, Mathias Rotach, Hubert van den Bergh

    Public defense: 2004-7-2


    Record created on 2005-03-16, modified on 2016-08-08

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